Team Spotlight on Q: The fun-loving, down-to-earth, giving mentor who aims high and has your back
It’s impossible to truly express what DNX means to Q, given that he has been part of it from the firm’s inception. For him, it’s important that DNX is a close-knit team — every team member is held accountable to their expected deliverables, and communication is transparent, open and honest.
The above was evident at DNX Day on November 17th. DNX Day brought together the DNX community for a full day of industry trends, panel discussions, networking, and celebration. At the event, industry leaders, VCs, LPs and cutting-edge startups discussed the macro climate affecting startups, the latest B2B trends in Automation/Robotics, Sustainability, Cloud, Cybersecurity, Fintech, and Retail tech.
From helping with the due diligence of companies to managing portfolios, Q takes on several roles as a driven and generous leader. His primary focus centers around making DNX portfolio companies as successful as they can be. Furthermore, Q strives to provide the DNX team with all the right tools and resources, making sure to impart to them, along the way, lessons from his own successes and failures in the VC world. Q likes to live by the philosophy of ‘letting the work speak for itself’ — endeavoring to lead by empowering others through his own learnings.
Originally from Mumbai and having spent the early part of his career as an engineer, product manager, and marketing, Q felt that his transition into working with startups happened quite naturally, after the GFC, where the sector really needed customer development for portfolio companies.
What sectors or trends are you excited about right now?
I am excited about New Space, Automation/ Robotics, the movement to the cloud, digitization of traditional industries, and vertical SaaS.
What are the main things you think about when looking at a potential investment?
When I started off in this industry, I focused primarily on technology and products; however, now I center my focus around the CEO & management team, their go-to-market and then their product. In the early stages, I look for resilience in entrepreneurs; do they work to find a solution to tough issues, or is their instinct to avoid the issue? I think a scaling mindset in entrepreneurs is also really important — that is, can they personally scale as the company grows. Are they able to make truly gut-wrenching, tough decisions?
What are the values that drive you?
Accountability, speed, transparency, trust, domain knowledge and full-team support. It is important that everyone- myself, the team, our partners and portfolio companies- are always on the same page and accountable.
What is your advice for entrepreneurs?
I think it’s important to be crazy but also have shades of realism and perspective — you’re never going to be able to raise all the money you want to, nor build the perfect product or the perfect team. So ask yourself: are you the person who can keep tacking your sail, are you the kind of person who can continuously hustle and scale? Hopefully, you have a life partner or a close friend that keeps you grounded after work :)
What are some challenges you have faced in your VC career?
For a good part of my VC career, I was swayed by the ups and downs of the companies I worked with — that is, I wasn’t able to be the rock or anchor that the CEOs and board members so desperately needed. Now, I’ve learnt how to become more of an anchor, better to be able to emotionally identify with what entrepreneurs are going through but be the rock. To undergo this change, I had to scale myself, introspect and recognise what I had to improve on; realizing that I was really wrapped up in my own story; I had to (and continue to) unlearn ineffectual habits and mindsets. I want to be a true and honest reflection of what the entrepreneur already knows in their gut is right or wrong, but is unable to articulate clearly.
What is your must-read book?
I loved Dreams by Carl Jung. It lays out the framework for interpreting and learning from your dreams and had a profound effect on me.
What do you enjoy doing when you aren’t working?
I like hanging out with folks from different walks of life outside of work — the real world keeps me grounded. Hiking really clears my head — I love being surrounded by mountains and forests.